Microsoft Flight


MS flight

Microsoft Flight

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Microsoft Flight
Microsoft Flight.png
Developer(s) Microsoft Studios
Publisher(s) Microsoft Studios
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows XP SP3
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Release date(s) February 29, 2012[1]
Genre(s) Simulation
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer (online)
Rating(s) ESRB: E
Media/distribution Digital Download
System requirements
  • Dual Core processor, 2 GHz or higher
  • 256MB Shader 3.0 (DX 9.0c compliant) supported video card or higher
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 10.0 GB free HD space
  • Broadband internet required[2]

Microsoft Flight is a flight simulation game from Microsoft Studios created as a successor to the long-running, discontinued Microsoft Flight Simulator series. The simulation game[3] is offered “free-to-play“; only charging gamers for downloading extra content, aircraft or scenery.[4] Unlike the enthusiast-centric Microsoft Flight Simulator games, Microsoft Flight focuses much more on the universal appeal of flight and aims to engage a much wider audience.

Contents

Development

The game was officially released on February 29 2012. Previously limited details were released on Flight, but Microsoft suggested that its realism and accuracy will appeal to flying enthusiasts, while new types of gameplay will appeal to newcomers.[5] The game is integrated with the Games for Windows – Live platform, which allows players with Live accounts to join and host multiplayer sessions using a Gamertag. The introduction of Live means that the GameSpy client will no longer be in use.[6]

It introduces a new model of DLC (Downloadable content), integrated with the Games For Windows Marketplace. All Flight add ons can be purchased and installed in-game from a central marketplace. There is currently no public SDK (Software Development Kit) planned for Flight, with all DLC being developed by Microsoft’s in-house team.

The official Flight website now features a download link for Microsoft Flight, as well as FAQs and a handbook.

On December 1, 2011 a beta application was set up on the website. An announcement was posted on the official Flight facebook page (on December 13, 2011) stating that an official Youtube channel was published containing the current Webisodes.

It was announced on January 4, 2012 that it would be free-to-play on release in Spring 2012.[7]

On February 6, 2012 it was announced that Microsoft Flight would be free to download on February 29, 2012. Also it was announced the first expansion pack would be released on the same day.

Upgrades

A screenshot of Flight released by Microsoft, showing the new lighting/shadowing capabilities of the engine in the aircraft virtual cockpit.

Flight features new aircraft, scenery and terrain, a revamped weather engine, and new gameplay elements for users of all skill levels.[6] The new weather engine renders more realistic clouds and weather effects, including fog that blends well with the surrounding terrain, which Microsoft’s previous flight simulator release, (Microsoft Flight Simulator X), was not capable of. As seen in the screenshots, the most noticeable graphical improvements are the newer shader models and the use of new DirectX versions. Part of the improvement is more realistic lighting and self shadowing on aircraft, as well as the ability for terrain and scenery objects to cast shadows onto other objects and terrain. The aircraft visual models are much improved over those of the previous flight simulator releases. Flight also features a new missions system.

System requirements

Minimum:

  • CPU: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
  • GPU: 256 MB card capable of shader 3.0 (DX 9.0c compliant)
  • HD: 10 GB Hard Drive space
  • OS: WinXP SP3 or newer
  • RAM: 2 GB

Recommended (high settings):

  • CPU: Dual Core 3.0 GHz
  • GPU: 1024 MB ATI Radeon HD 5670 or 1024 MB NVIDIA GEFORCE 9800 GT or equivalent
  • HD: 30 GB Hard Drive space
  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • RAM: 6 GB

Downloadable Content

The core game, which includes the Icon A5 aircraft and the Big Island of Hawaii scenery area, is free to download from the game’s website. It can then be expanded with additional DLC (Downloadable content) from the integrated Games For Windows Marketplace. Current DLC available is:

Reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 64.29%[12]
Metacritic 64/100[13]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 6/10[14]
GameSpot 7/10[15]
GameSpy 3.5/5 stars[16]
IGN 5/10[17]
Strategy Informer 7/10[18]
[icon] This section requires expansion.

References

  1. ^ “Microsoft Flight Cleared for a February 29th Liftoff”

    . Dan Stapleton. February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2012.

  2. ^ Microsoft Flight System Requirements
  3. ^ http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/#

    See FAQ

  4. ^ Eric Caoili (4 January 2012). “Microsoft’s Flight Simulator revival operates as free-to-play”

    . Gamasutra. Retrieved 12 January 2012.

  5. ^ Ina Fried (18 August 2010). “Microsoft makes a return to Flight”

    . CNET News. Retrieved 17 October 2010.

  6. ^ a b “Microsoft Flight FAQ”

    . Retrieved 13 October 2011.

  7. ^ “Microsoft’s Flight Simulator revival operates as free-to-play”

    . Retrieved 4 January 2012.

  8. ^ http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/#press-takes_to_skies
  9. ^ https://microsoftflight.com/en-us/marketplace/
  10. ^ https://news.microsoftflight.com/blogs/news/archive/2012/03/05/dlc-sneak-peek-journey-to-alaska.aspx
  11. ^ https://news.microsoftflight.com/blogs/news/archive/2012/03/27/the-zero.aspx
  12. ^ “Microsoft Flight”

    . GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

  13. ^ “Microsoft Flight for PC”

    . Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

  14. ^ Paul Presley (2012-03-08). “Microsoft Flight Review”

    . Eurogamer. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

  15. ^ Brett Todd (2012-03-13). “Microsoft Flight”

    . GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

  16. ^ Mike Nelson (2012-03-11). “Microsoft Flight Review – Updated”

    . GameSpy. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

  17. ^ Gord Goble (2012-03-14). “Microsoft Flight Review”

    . IGN. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

  18. ^ Marco Fiori (2012-03-12). “Microsoft Flight Review (PC)”

    . Strategy Informer. Retrieved 2012-04-09.

 

 

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Microsoft Flight Review

By Paul Presley Published 8 March, 2012

Highs and lows.

Version tested: PC

Flight Simulator used to be scary. In days of yore, you’d wait for the loading screen to fade, squint at the various incomprehensible menu screens, become bewildered by the sheer amount of options thrown right at your face, then spend an hour or so accidentally crashing a Cessna into various parts of Chicago using the default flight options before loading in your home town and trying to see if the developers had modelled your house.

There was so much to a Microsoft Flight Sim title. The world was your playground. Every class of aircraft you could think of was yours to sample. And not one part of the entire experience was ever welcoming, user-friendly or attractive to anyone who didn’t already know how the combustion chamber on a turboshaft engine works.

They were never really games and, to be fair, nor did they ever try to be. They were simulators, first and foremost. You got them because you wanted to see what flying a plane was really like, down to every last switch and knob in the cockpit. They were staggeringly complex, frustratingly off-putting to the outsider and scary, scary beasts of programming achievements. And they were magnificent for it.

'Microsoft Flight Review' Screenshot 1The quality in detail varies from gorgeous for the planes to baffling for scenery.

But a limited, faithful audience of hardcore flight simmers does not a profitable bank balance make, so now we have Microsoft Flight and everything is different. From the ground up this has been built to be a game. You have missions, career modes, challenges, achievements, trophies, XP levels, cut-scenes, unlockable rewards. In short, everything we’ve come to expect from our gaming lives.

Everything that would (and already is, if you look at most dedicated Flight Sim forums) make the aforementioned hardcore crowd scream in horror. Everything necessary to make the experience of playing a Microsoft Flight Simulator title warm, approachable and friendly to the larger, untapped market of casual virtual pilots.

This it does with aplomb. Right from the start you’re being led by the hand through the flight menu options, trying out the different types of activities, being encouraged to explore this new world of aviation. Your tutorial in the ultra-modern, car-like Icon A5 runs you through basic manoeuvres, in-game iconography and how to actually land a damn plane intact. It’s right here, in your first flight, that you realise just how different this is to what’s come before.

For a start, controls are all highly geared towards mouse jockeys – something that was almost unheard of in previous editions. It’s been designed that way in order not to put off the casual pilot that doesn’t own a replica 747-cockpit in their spare room. This has the twin effect of making everything comfortable and playable, but also reducing the sense that this is in any way reminiscent of true flying.

'Microsoft Flight Review' Screenshot 2You’ll believe a mouse can fly (an aeroplane).

You can make use of joysticks, flight yokes and whatever dedicated control devices you may have should you want. While that will add to the sensation, even when you turn off the flight aids on the options screens you’re never really going to believe this is anything more than a game about flying experiences as opposed to a true simulation of keeping a ton of metal above the ground.

Not that Microsoft is trying to claim anything but that. Pre-release build up has been all about ‘experience’, and the lack of the scary ‘S’ word in the game’s title is the most obvious clue. With that in mind, all the various missions, challenges and other activities actually play out very well. There’s a good sense of progression, each airport on the map can be accessed for ‘jobs’ (even if they are all mostly variations on a handful of basic themes), and specialist challenges at least nod towards a higher level of piloting skill being needed to win the higher-tier trophies.

By far the most interesting (and clever) additions are the Aerocaches. The world is dotted with hidden, floating gold icons, each worth a differing level of XP depending on how well they’re tucked away or how dangerous they are to reach. These are always active regardless of which game mode you’re in and can be found even while flying other missions or jobs or, most usefully of all, even just in Free Flight, adding a small sense of purpose to being up in the air at all times. It is good fun. You’re just flying along when you suddenly notice a rotating gold icon under a bridge, and right away your leisurely trip into the clouds has become an impromptu stunt pilot challenge.

You can actively hunt them out, of course, and each Aerocache has an associated ‘clue’ that requires a small degree of internet research to help locate in-game. The idea is a boastful one from Microsoft, as if to say, “Our scenery is so detailed you can use real-world maps to navigate it.” Which would be great if not for one small thing. The scenery (or at least the Hawaiian locale available at launch) really isn’t that detailed when you examine it for any length of time.

'Microsoft Flight Review' Screenshot 3
Never underestimate the market for a third-party, downloadable cockpit canopy texture.

Flight is a very ’empty’ world. The Flight Simulator series has always been much more at home in the air than when close to the ground. Whereas before the developers had the excuse of having to model the entire world thus necessitating a degree of corner-cutting, having reduced the scale so much here to just a single island state, it’s hard to understand why Hawaii feels so badly replicated.

There’s no sense of population – either airborne or ground-based. Even older versions of Flight Sim recreated traffic. There’s no ATC at airports offering a feeling of immersion, no AI of any type. Everything around you is lifeless. Even multiplayer just opens your current airspace to a dozen or so other online pilots, but there’s nothing you can do with them (other than pointlessly buzz the same runway as you try to ‘build a community’).

Worse, the old Flight Sim problems of buildings just dropped haphazardly onto generic ground textures is present and correct. Almost unforgivable when you’ve been able to narrow your development focus in such a way as Flight has. Even a cursory look at Hawaii on Google Maps shows so much ground detail that is just missing completely. The generic feeling of the environment quickly proves tiresome and you’re rapidly longing for some of the variety in locations that the older games offered.

There’s a sort of excuse for this, but it’s not much of one. It’s free. No subscription fees, no one-off payments, not even a Donate button. You can download Flight and take to the Hawaiian air without ever opening your wallet. Where the money comes in is through good old DLC in the form of new planes, mission packs and scenery. At launch you have the P51-Mustang and Maule M-7 to add to your hanger for $7.99 and $14.99 respectively (the price difference down to the Mustang not having a modelled cockpit view), as well as the Hawaiian Islands mission pack for $19.99, opening the rest of Hawaii to you and adding more missions, challenges and Aerocaches.

'Microsoft Flight Review' Screenshot 4
Hawaii is all well and good, but when will the Doncaster DLC pack arrive?

This feels like something of a misstep. As mentioned, one of Flight Sim’s major appeals was always the fact you could fly anywhere in the world. Urban cityscapes, Amazonian jungles, Austrian mountain ranges – variety was the key ingredient. By the time you’ve exhausted flying around Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’, the last thing you want to see is yet more of the same. Especially as the level of detail on offer by these packs really doesn’t justify the price, being no better than the free scenery. When something like Test Drive Unlimited 2 offers a more realistic and immersive Hawaii than this, for much the same price, there’s honestly no excuse for it.

Until now, the Flight Simulator series was really more of a flight-based OS, heavily supported by third-party add-ons that added rich layers of detail to the world. Everything from airport vehicle packages to satellite-imaged landscapes to improved engine sounds. Flight is operating, instead, on a closed market policy, with everything controlled by Microsoft.

At the time of writing, nothing has been announced about what future DLC is currently scheduled, which is a really bad move as it’s this DLC that is really going to make or break Flight. There’s been a cursory mention that it won’t entirely rule out third-party support for the game, but it’s clear that Microsoft wants to keep tight controls over it all. If the shoddy lack of scenery detail on show by its own development team is anything to go by, that third-party input is badly (and quickly) needed.

Microsoft is attempting to do pretty much everything the purists will hate with Flight, but everything that is necessary to save the IP. How well it’s doing it is open to debate, and much will reside on what steps it takes next with the DLC. At present, it’s not really a simulation, and nor is it fully convincing as a game experience. But it’s definitely no longer scary and that, at least, is a step in the right direction.

 

———————————————

 

Game mô phỏng Microsoft Flight đã sẵn sàng ‘cất cánh’

Sản phẩm tiếp theo của series Flight Simulator sẽ ra mắt trong mùa xuân này.

Microsoft Flight là game mô phỏng lái máy bay do hãng Microsoft sản xuất. Trong game, người chơi sẽ thực hiện các nhiệm vụ theo yêu cầu như bay dẫn đường, nhào lộn, cứu hộ, vận chuyển hàng và hành khách. Game có hai chế độ chơi đơn và nối mạng thông qua hệ thống Windows Live.

Trò chơi sẽ mô phỏng lại chính xác các địa hình biển, núi, đất đá… trên bề mặt trái đất cũng như những hiện tượng thời tiết thường xuyên diễn ra trong các chuyến bay. Người chơi sẽ được đặt trong một khoang lái với hàng chục chiếc đồng hồ hiển thị thông số, độ cao, áp suất… và game thủ có thể điều khiển các thao tác của mình bằng chuột cùng bàn phím.

Những người chơi đăng nhập qua tài khoản Windows Live sẽ nhận được thêm các nội dung bổ sung, bao gồm cả chiếc máy bay huyền thoại Boeing Stearman, các nhiệm vụ mới cũng như cơ hội ghi điểm trên bảng xếp hạng để so sánh với người chơi khác.

Game sẽ được phát dưới hình thức free-to-play và thu phí nếu người chơi muốn có thêm những thử thách, máy bay hay bản đồ mới.

“Các nội dung mới thường xuyên được cập nhật cho Microsoft Flight bao gồm danh sách nhiệm vụ hàng ngày và những thay đổi để làm sao mỗi chuyến bay của người chơi luôn độc đáo và thú vị. Trò chơi sẽ dễ dàng cho những người mới bắt đầu nhưng cũng đầy thách thức cho cả game thủ có kỹ năng hoàn hảo nhất”, đại diện hãng phát triển cho biết.

Một điều đặc biệt mà game thủ sẽ ưu ái nhận được là cơ hội điều khiển trước chiếc máy bay công nghệ cao ICON A5, trong khi phiên bản thực tế của nó sẽ xuất hiện trên thị trường vào cuối năm nay.

Hãng phát triển sẽ giới thiệu Microsoft Flight tại Triển lãm Công nghệ Điện tử Tiêu dùng (CES) diễn ra vào 10-13/1 tới tại Las Vegas, Mỹ.

Ngọc Anh – Vnexpress

One thought on “Microsoft Flight

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